Carey Place is a two-block street in the Gatewood neighborhood in the Mid City area of Oklahoma City that features unique mission colonial style architecture. The north block is made up of single family homes while the south block has duplexes. And one of the homes on the North block that has little hatchets on its shutters is the subject of an urban legend that is often retold during the Halloween season. Unofficially known as the “hatchet house,” a story has been told for decades of how a 9-year-old girl known as Carrie was murdered there in the early 1920s on Halloween with a hatchet by a man who had been driven into a homicidal frenzy after seeing the hatchets that are on the shutters. The hatchets were supposed to have been the symbol used by devil worshipping cults who brain washed their members into committing violent acts.

The red coloring of the pavement in front of the home is said to be the result of the blood that flowed from her wounded head, and that her spirit still haunts the area, and on occasion she can be hear crying. Under cover of night, the legend has it, the murderer buried Carrie’s body under the swings on the playground at the nearby Gatewood School, and schoolchildren are thrown off those swings by Carrie’s ghost on the anniversary of her murder. On the day after Carrie was killed, several of her friends who were not aware of her death supposedly came to her home and asked her horrified mother if she could come out to play, and that since that time ghosts have allegedly gone up and down Carey Place around Halloween asking the same question. Generations of students from nearby Oklahoma City University were said to approach houses on Carey Place on Halloween Eve and asked the occupants if “Carrie can come out to play.”

On the north block of the street is a house that is supposed to have a bullet hole in one of its window frames. According to the story, the owner of the home had shot and killed his wife and her lover through that window when he had come home unexpectedly and saw them together. And while the window frame is periodically replaced by new occupants, the bullet hole supposedly always returns.

There are also other tales of violent incidents that are supposed to have occurred on that narrow street that has resulted in several houses being haunted by ghosts. And Carey Place and the neighboring streets are probably the most visited thoroughfares in the Oklahoma City area on Halloween, with children exiting from vans and trucks to walk through it in a variety of costumes, and several off duty police officers on hand to keep the peace. One resident there estimates that she and her husband dispense between 50 to 80 large bags of candy on Halloween, and that one of them has to remain outside for the three- to four-hour period in which children come to their door trick or treating. In the past several years the Oklahoma City Fire Department has been called to help direct traffic.

Carey Place has been designated as a historic landmark by the U S Department of the Interior, and was built in the early 1900s. Older homes tend to settle, and shifting buildings can result in doors and cabinets suddenly coming open and unusual sounds, which may account for some of the claims that houses on the street are haunted.

There is no record of a child being murdered on Carey Place, and the little hatchets found on the shutters on the house there were an insignia that builders throughout the Southwest used in the early decades of the last century as symbols of their profession. A folklorist would probably conclude that “Carrie” — who is never given a surname in the tale — is a derivative of “Carey”, and that the story reflects the concerns that young children have regarding their safety. According to one longtime resident of Carey Place, the story was initially told by students at Gatewood School and when those pupils went on to the nearby Classen High School the story of Carrie became part of the folklore of that institution that was passed on to future generations. It later became part of the tales that were told to first-year students at OCU, and was incorporated into the folklore of that institution’s fraternities and sororities. It is probably safe to assume that the story of the unfortunate Carrie of Carey Place will continue to be told in the years to come.


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